Friday, August 8, 2008

The Zucchini Experience

I decided to plant a vegetable garden this year. I thought it would be an interesting experience for the kids and even for myself. This has turned out to be the case. We have harvested zucchini and jalapenos so far, but have ripening tomatoes, red peppers, and onions in the near future. I have even got the kids to try the zucchini and surpisingly they are tolerant towards it and actually ingest this mortal enemy of children. It has been really cool and we check the garden for changes, bugs, fruit, and whatever else we see.

Now, .... The zucchini, well most of the plants have shriveled up and died. I have learned that there is a condition called bacterial wilt. This bacteria is apparently carried among several bugs including this one, the cucmuber beetle. Hopefully you can see it. There are the striped variety and the spotted variety. We had both.

When the plant becomes infected it wilts in a matter of about a day. You can almost watch it wilt and die.

Sadly, we have lost most of our plants and is only a matter of time before we lose them all. But it was an interesting learning experience. Next year we'll be more prepared for such things.

And now on to more creepy parts of the garden.

On the same zucchini plants were eggs. Hmmmmm, eggs. We've seen these other bugs in the plant as well, but they seemed to have no ill effect on the plants, so no big deal. I think they are stink bugs, but still haven't looked into it extensively. Either way, the eggs would surely hatch someday. And soon enough, that day had come.

A grab of a leaf and a look at the underside of it revealed, DUN DUn Dun, these creepy crawlies. This is only one picture of the chilling kalaidescope of criss-crossed insect legs and newly formed shiny blue abdomens. It was certainly enough to send a shiver down my spine. At the same time, it was striking enough to prompt lifting more leaves in anticipation of more huddled groups.

The kids thought it was neat as the oohs and ahhs kept coming. But EGADS, who would have thought a simple vegetable garden could reveal so much??

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In an age where success may be dependant on technology and effective use of it, I have created this blog for my son, Eli. He is five. I hope that this will be an avenue for him to explore, learn, have fun, and excel in a way that many of us never knew as kids.